Well, with the government shutdown starting, and the medical bills that have yet to come in for all of Joseph's expensive meds and treatments, and the fact that I am not seeing us gaining ground with regards to saving money lately, it is a great temptation to me today to panic and worry. I see very clearly what a fleshly, sinful response that is. God has always been faithful to me; I must trust him now, when the path ahead is unclear. I always have this illusion that at some point, we are going to have enough money or such a peaceful life that I will not be tempted to worry. Ha! What a crazy idea. Worrying is a bad habit that never helps. It's like rocking in a rocking chair, I have heard --- you make lots of motion, but you don't get anywhere.
To combat worry and fear, I have decided to post a list of things I am thankful for, so that in the next few days I can reread it myself and hopefully stave off any worry or fears for the future. So without further adieu, here is my Thankful List:
1. I have a God who loves me so much that he spared nothing valuable to have a relationship with me.
2. I have the Holy Spirit living INSIDE me to guide me and teach me, and to continually draw my wandering heart back to him.
3. I have the Bible accessible to me in a country where I have the freedom to openly own it and read it. I know how to read, and I have the access to multiple copies of it both online, in print, and even on my nook color and smartphone. There is never a time when it is not available to me.
4. I have a church family that spans more than just the family we know here in Huntsville, but as far away as China we have friends that are praying for our family and love us, as we love them. These giving people open their homes and lives to our family, have fed us, cared for our children, and held us accountable to press forward to the high callings in Christ. I could make a whole list of people that I know have been a part of God's blessings toward us and it would make a web page all its own, but suffice it to say New Life Baptist, Sovereign Grace Fredericksburg, New Life Ministries, Trinity Assembly, Grace Church, the former BSU at Tech, Campus Crusade ---all of these have blessed and worked in our marriage and lives.
5. I have a wonderful, godly husband who cares for me, and always strives to lead our family ever closer to God and to provide for us financially. He takes me out on dates, he cooks dinners, he mows the grass, he is faithful to me, and he prays for me and the kids.
6. I have six beautiful, awesome children here on earth, and one in heaven.
7. Joseph's illness is not terminal. His life span will be like anyone else's. The trials that he faces, difficult though they have been, have only served to grow him in courage and compassion. I have faith that his walk with the Lord is going to be a story of incredible passion and miraculous abundance.
8. My oldest daughter has a heart for missions, and the people of Haiti. She is a joy to our family, and my right hand woman. She is helpful, joyful, and exhuberant at times. I see her growing so much in her walk with the Lord, and I know God is doing great and mighty things in her life, and through her.
9. Rebekah accepted Christ this past summer, and she too is a joy and blessing. In fact, let me just stop here and say what a joy all of my children are. I could never imagine my life without them, and the love and the light they bring to my heart.
10. I have a great relationship with my in laws, and enjoy so much spending time with Joe's family as equally as my own. I know not everyone has this kind of relationship with their in laws, so I am very thankful for this blessing.
11. I have the privilege of staying home and homeschooling our children. Yes, many days it is difficult and I doubt my ability and God's provision, but God has always managed to meet our kids' needs through either myself, Joe, or providing a tutor in areas where I feel less qualified. I recognize not everyone gets to experience this blessing, and I am thankful that I am one who does get to. I am thankful, too, that I live in a country where I still have the freedom to homeschool without much fear of government persecution.
12. The vacation I just went on is more proof of God's love for me as well. I had wanted desperately to go to the beach this year, but did not think we could afford it due to medical bills and the previous furlough. My mother had no idea I had been praying to God about it, but of her own volition she arranged to rent the house to take us all there, and then my mother-in-law pitched in as well. We brought all our food, so our only meals out were fast food on the way, and the cost of kenneling our dog. The house was beautiful, as was the beach, and it was a wonderful time away, but actually did not cost us very much at all because of mom's and Meme's generosity.
13. Even with the shutdown, Joe still has a job where he gets paid fairly well. And I am confident, if he were to lose that job, God would open other doors of provision for us. We do not look to Obama or Congress to provide for us, but our sovereign, almighty God.
14. I woke up this morning, breathing in clean air, in a fairly healthy body, and I walked around thus far today all under my own power. I do not need a wheelchair to walk, and I even have both hands and feet that work properly.
15. We have a beautiful home, with a wonderful backyard, and wonderful neighbors. Also, we got it for a great price, so even though it is a bigger house than we owned in King George, our house payment is no more money than we paid there for a house that was half the size and half the amount of land.
16. We have all kinds of food in our kitchen. Never have my children wondered if there would be food available to eat at their next meal. Never have they wondered if they would have clothes to wear or any other necessity of life available to them when they needed it.
17. Two words: Air conditioning.
18. I own three bookshelves of books, besides what is in our garage we rotate through, as well as access to wonderful public libraries. There is no reason why I should ever suffer with want of entertainment or learning, so long as these wonderful institutions are accessible to me.
I could go on and on and on about all the wonderful ways I am blessed. I would love it if others wish to add to the list. What are you thankful for today? What are you taking for granted? I am hoping this list will serve to stimulate others to make their own lists of thankfulness, and to not forget the things and people God has blessed them with.